Indian oil refining and marketing company Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) is planning to invest Rs1.4trn ($17.65bn) in petrochemicals, city gas, and clean energy businesses in the next five years, new agency Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

The investment forms part of the firm’s effort to boost non-fuel businesses.

BPCL chairman and managing director Arun Kumar Singh was cited by the PTI as saying in the firm’s latest annual report that the company is ‘recalibrating its strategies to leverage emerging opportunities while mitigating risks’.

Singh said “The company has firmed up plans to diversify and expand in adjacent and alternative businesses to create additional revenue streams and provide a hedge against any possible future decline in liquid fossil-fuel business.”

Within the petrochemical industry, the firm has identified two new refinery-integrated petrochemical projects.

These include a 1.2 million tonnes per annum (Mmtpa) ethylene cracker unit at the Bina Refinery, located in the Bina-Etawa district of Madhya Pradesh state, and a 0.4Mmtpa polypropylene unit at the Kochi Refinery in the Indian state Kerala, the report said.

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By GlobalData

BPCL, which owns 20,217 out of 83,685 petrol pumps in the country, is also considering providing electric vehicle (EV) charging, as well as fuels of the future like hydrogen.

“Mindful of the need to reinvent ourselves with the changing times, we are committed to and progressing towards transforming our fuel stations into energy stations, where all forms of energy solutions for mobility, like petrol, diesel, natural gas, EV solutions, flexi fuels and, eventually, hydrogen, would be available,” Singh noted.

With an intention to expand its natural gas footprints, the firm is aggressively participating in tender rounds and securing city gas retailing licences.

Along with its joint ventures, BPCL has licences to retail CNG to automobiles and piped natural gas to households and industries in 50 geographical areas.

BPCL accounts for nearly 14% of the country’s oil refining capacity of 251.2 million tonnes and has identified six strategic areas as pillars of future growth and sustainability.

These include petrochemicals, gas, renewables, new businesses (consumer retailing), e-mobility, and upstream.

Singh added: “The company has laid out a detailed roadmap under each of these strategic areas, and has planned a capex outlay of around Rs 1.4 lakh crore in the next five years.”